Developing Architectural Lighting Designs to Improve the Health and Well-Being of Older Adults

Dec 01, 2008

This paper discusses a proposed 24-hr lighting scheme for older adults that can positively impact the aging visual, circadian and perceptual systems. New lighting was installed in eight private rooms in an assisted living facility. Measurements of residents’ sleep quality and circadian rest-activity patterns were obtained before and after the new lighting was installed. Consistent with predictions based upon previous research, the subjects who completed the study showed an improvement in sleep quality and rest/activity rhythms under the new 24-hr lighting scheme. In addition, all study participants reported a strong preference for the 24-hr lighting. The new lighting not only provides older adults with good lighting for performing their routine visual tasks, but also promotes high circadian light stimulation during the day and low circadian light stimulation at night.

Mariana G. Figueiro, PhD (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
Mark S. Rea, PhD (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
Elyse Saldo (The Sage Colleges)
Mary S. Rea, PhD (The Sage Colleges)
Karen Kubarek (The Sage Colleges)
Julie Cunningham (The Sage Colleges)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
The American Institute of Architects

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